Category Archives: Everything Else

Step 1: Eliminate Excess

If you missed the introduction to the Simplify Your Life Challenge, please check it out here. To make a long story short, I am simplifying to help manage my stress and household, so that I can focus on what really matters to me. I have a lot going on and I need the absolute best way to help my family succeed at life!

Simplicity to me means not just successfully surviving but thriving!

You can join the challenge by subscribing to my blog to keep up with each step. At the end of each step we will have a challenge and I would love it if you would join me and post your own progress! (Bonus points for any pictures you can take of your simplification status!) Now on to Step 1 and it probably won’t surprise you:

Step 1: Eliminate excess

 In 2012 I did a challenge with some friends to get rid of 2012 items that year. It was such an eye opener as I realized just how much excess our 1400 square foot home had. That was when I really began to acknowledge my issues with shopping and how the “stuff” was stifling us. What I learned that year really helped me to have confidence in getting rid of stuff this time around.

In a similar way this summer I have been going through every single room and purging, purging, purging. Ruthlessly selling, trashing, re-homing. I’m taking a hard look at items, making sure they are serving enough of a purpose to earn their keep. If not, out they go. For example,  in my living room, I had 10 throw pillows. TEN! On only two sofas .The truth was, every day was frustrating because they ended up on the floor. There wasn’t room for PEOPLE on the sofa! How many do we need? Not ten!

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The key here is purpose. I have lots of items that are useful (as in they can be used with success) but if they’ve been collecting dust on a shelf or packed away in a closet they do not have a purpose. Think of all the “gadgets” in your kitchen. Which ones are you actually putting to good use? Sometimes this means getting rid of perfectly good, useful items when you realize that the space and clarity they leave behind is more valuable than the footprint they occupy and the chaos they  collectively contribute.

I feel obligated to mention the wildly popular book by Marie Kondo: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I have read it, and I do recommend it for gaining perspective on clutter and minimalism. At the same time, I feel that her method introduces the risk of an extreme and almost compulsive distaste for possessions. I’m also somewhat uncomfortable with the animism that she endorses.

While helpful, her tag phrase: “Does it spark joy?” has encouraged many hilarious memes of housewives discarding their credit card bills and sweeping their homes of all vegetables or dirty laundry. After all, can everything really spark joy?

Well, what if everything around you truly did spark joy or contribute to a joyful existence? How would that change your life?

(Here is a post on whether or not Konmari really makes sense for families. I found the comments really helpful also)

If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend the book Simplicity Parenting. I read it when I first started my parenting journey and I still think about it years later. It so beautifully explains how less is more in the eyes of children and how we can raise them with the gift of simplicity.

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This has by far been my most ruthless and therefore productive purging round, and I have to tell you that I am really happy with the results. If you are overwhelmed with where to start, I suggest  either A) attacking room by room or B) attacking category by category.

Uncertain?
If you want to get rid of items but are worried about needing them later, packing them into storage or the attic might be a good idea. Oftentimes it will be clear when you retrieve them a few months later whether or not they bring value to your home.

Donate
My advice is to find a charity or cause that you really care about and if possible, donate your items to that cause. It’s easier for me to let go of items knowing they are going where they are truly needed. An alternative is to host a yard sale and donate the proceeds to your charity of choice. Sometimes a “higher purpose” is all you need to encourage yourself to purge.

Persevere
Remind yourself that this first step, though overwhelming, will allow every subsequent step to go more smoothly. This could be an EPIC Weekend project or an ongoing, daily effort but either way keep your eye on the prize. Enlist help, get the kids involved, and don’t give up!

Resources:

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

10 Tips for De-cluttering by Peter Walsh (quick read with great tips for beginners!)

How to Declutter your Entire Home Going Room by Room by Elizabeth Larkin (awesome resource with clickable guides to help focus on results!)

Eliminate Excess Challenge:

Choose one room and commit to really eliminating all the excess from it. Look around and imagine how this room would look if it was void of any items that don’t spark joy or add value. Grab some boxes and bags and get to work!

Be sure to check out the other posts in this series:

Simplify Your Life Challenge

 

Simplify Your Life Challenge

As I approach Fall 2016 with the goal of “Simplicity”, I’m not going to lie: I’m scared. I know that I’m getting in over my head. Homeschooling is a huge responsibility and parenting doesn’t get any easier as the kids get older. So this year requires quite a bit of prayer, committing my efforts to the Lord, and surrendering the outcome. I am reminded that these children aren’t mine, they belong to our Heavenly Father! I’m very grateful for friends who have helped me to see this truth more clearly with their faithful, open-handed approach to parenthood.

(I am so, so slow at learning this truth: yes, He entrusted them to me, but they are HIS treasures, not mine).

In light of the “Fall Fear Factor”, I am working every single day at improving our routine and getting things set up for the School Year. The girls will be in 4th grade (I can hardly believe it), I’m writing on a daily basis, I will be working two days a week, my youngest demands constant attention and money is tight so we can’t afford to pay for convenience. I am also trying to work on diet and exercise for myself and cutting WAY down on shopping as a “hobby”. Here’s a post for BargainBabe that talks about my shift from Shopaholic to more of a minimalist (these are baby steps, for sure).

I’m tired of being pushed around by my responsibilities. I’m ready to push back.

Through this process, I’m seeking a more harmonious schedule that works for us, rather than the schedule working me to death (or just leaving me incredibly defeated).

I have gone through each room carefully and thoughtfully with the long-term goal in mind of cutting down on chaos and complications and smoothing out the day to day. I want to share with you some of my ideas and some resources that I found helpful.

simplicity

I want to mention right from the get-go that I am not an expert on organization, simplicity, home management, or discipline. Quite the opposite: these are areas that I really struggle with. Because these are weak points for me, I am working hard to improve them. In the past, I have realized blogging about my goals has really helped me to stick with the plan. So the “Simplify Your Life Challenge” is mostly for me as I work on improving our daily routine and seek simplicity! I hope some of you will be inspired to do the same, or at least encouraged that you are not alone if you struggle with this! In the next few posts, I’ll be getting down to the nitty-gritty of simplifying and challenging myself to commit.

Please SUBSCRIBE to my blog (top right corner) to join this challenge and get all of the Simplify Challenge emails right in your inbox!

Resources:

This is one of my favorite books about parenting and just life pursuits in general! It’s one that has really stuck with me nearly a decade after first reading it. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, I think you could benefit from reading Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross

My Pinterest Board! If you would like to be added as a contributor to this board, please email me at leahprescott@gmail.com. I’d love your feedback on Simplicity and what your goals are as well!

 

 

EASY Hard Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Did you know that you can make hardboiled eggs in the instant pot? No watching the stove and the finished product leaves you with eggs that peel so easily! My kids love hardboiled eggs, deviled eggs and even egg salad but I never found a cooking method I liked. I tried everything to make them easy to peel (add vinegar to the water, adjust cook times, time the cold water bath) and even started baking them in muffin tins in the oven but making them in the instant pot is by far my favorite method of all!hardboiled.eggs.instant.pot.2

All I do is add 1.5 cups of water to the inner pot, then put in a steamer basket or the steam rack and pile up the eggs. Seriously, just add as many as you want. I usually cook about 15. hardboiledeggsinstantpot

Set the manual setting for 5 or 6 minutes (personal preference). After they have cooked, give it another 6 minutes before you do a quick pressure release. Then add some cold water to the inner pot along with a bunch of ice and just stick it in the fridge to cool completely. You will LOVE peeling these eggs!

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Bunk Bed Bedding Reveal or How to Get Your Kids to Make Their Beds

My Quest for Bunk Bed Bedding

The links on this post are Amazon Affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a tiny commission at no cost to you. 

If you had a chance to catch my post on BargainBabe.com last week, you will know that I was looking for a better bedding solution for my three little monkeys who all sleep in bunk beds. I wanted a way to make those beds look neat every day. In fact, my girls try to make their beds, but making a bunk bed is basically impossible even for an adult. (I’ll be honest, I’m not sure anything would entice my four year old to make his bed). I really do think starting the day off with a neat bed makes a big difference, so I was looking for a solution.zipitboymessy

 

With our budget, the only zipper bedding that really made sense was Zipit Bedding. I admit I had my concerns and the patterns weren’t particularly appealing to me, but they are reversible and the colors worked with our rooms, so I decided to give them a try. They are available on Amazon but I found an even better deal on Groupon (for two patterns)! Groupon’s site can be confusing, but if you click through my referral link, then search for “zip” you should find the deal.

Local friends, after I ordered I found an EVEN better deal on these in our area. Ask me for details if you live nearby!

On to the Review of Zipit Bedding:

ZipIt Bedding is a two piece set that zips together (plus a pillowcase). Piece one is a fitted bottom sheet with zippers along both sides (not at the foot). Piece two is the comforter with zippers along both sides to zip onto piece one. There is no top sheet at all. At first I thought that was weird and asked the kids if they missed it. They both told me that they usually kick their sheets down to the bottom of the bed getting them all twisted under the comforter. All my kids are wiggly sleepers so that made sense!

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We washed the new bedding and made the beds immediately and it WAS. SO. EASY. The whole thing goes on with the same effort of a bottom sheet. There was plenty of depth to fit any size of mattress (the girls are on thinner IKEA mattresses but my son’s is rather thick). Washing was very quick, and way less effort than washing all the various pieces of bedding we normally have. In fact, with my monster size washer I was very tempted to try all three at once.

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The first caveat I discovered about Zipit Bedding was that there are TWO different patterns for the Girl’s Rock Princess bedding. The tricky part was both sets look identical from the package but the reverse side (the chevron side we prefer) isn’t visible until you open the package! So originally we got two different patterns for the girls. We ended up appreciating the choice because we all liked one over the other so we exchanged it.

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The differences are set A has BRIGHTER colors with more white and a bright blue teal. Set B has slightly LIGHTER colors with less white space and a light mint in place of the teal. The reverse side is the same graphic but slightly different dye lots. We much prefer set B with less white space, but honestly both were pretty cute. 

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The set is polyester, so not as soft as cotton but my kids like it. It’s definitely not as stiff as the typical character sheets from Target or Walmart. All three children have been sleeping on these for about two weeks and guess what? Every day the girls have made their beds! My four year old son does not make his independently, however, when I direct him he can do it himself in no time. That’s a win!

 

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One of the drawbacks of ZipIt bedding was the limited patterns, but I have to say that the kids and I actually LOVE the chevron prints. The colors are great for our rooms and they are much more age-less than the reverse sides.

I seriously love Zip-It bedding!!! I walked past my girls’ room on Saturday morning around 8 AM and saw their beds neatly made! It’s amazing how something so small can be such an encouragement to a mama’s heart. Check out the selection on Amazon!

Budget Tween Room Makeover: Part 2

Twin Tweens

I’m sharing my budget “tween” shared twin room makeover because tweens are a tricky demographic. They want to be grown up, but they don’t bring in their own income! They want all their toys, but they also want their room to look sophisticated. Check out my first post to see what we started with. 

Here’s our purple progress so far!

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I have to get started by apologizing. I realized today that yesterday’s post was a little misleading because I really didn’t post any budget tips! I promise I wasn’t trying to create click-bait…I was just trying to break up the post into reasonable pieces and the room is, like I said, a work in progress. But I promise I do have some budget tips, and I’m going to jump right into them today. My first tip is probably not going to surprise anyone!

Thrift Whenever Possible

I don’t want to sound like a broken record (it literally *just* occurred to me that readers are going to start wondering what that phrase means! whoa. That along with blogging about having tweens is definitely making me feel old….) but thrifting is such a great way of filling in the gaps with awesome unique decor with way less investment! When you walk through a thrift store lookout for items that are perfect for:

Chalkboard Spray Paint

I like this one, Rust-oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint. $3.95 as an add-on item is an awesome price for this also! We have used this paint for shelves, coasters, and redoing old art into chalkboards. It’s got great coverage and is really easy to use!

Metallic Spray Paint

I plan to order this one, Rust-oleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish. I can’t wait to try this on some knick-knacks we already have around the house.

A Totally Different Use

Think about what items you *need* for your home and try to imagine how bargain items could serve the purpose.

Here is an example of a outdated 90’s style kitchen basket that we spray painted with Krylon CoverMaxx in Gumdrop. We applied about three coats (probably due to my extremely haphazard spraypainting style) but the basket turned out perfect for our purposes. I mean, tacky stuff in bright colors is just what nine year olds are drawn to, so really why would you pay a lot of money for something you can easily make yourself? (Of course, in retrospect, I really wish I had done this in gold because I think it would have turned out awesome but we already had the purple so it is what it is.)

 

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Check out my Pinterest board for all kinds of thrifted DIY ideas with tweens in mind. I will be back with more tips soon!

Don’t miss my other posts in this series!

Budget Tween Room Makeover Part 1
Budget Tween Room Makeover Part 3
  Bunk Bed Bedding Reveal

 

Budget Tween Room Makeover: In Progress

Twin Tweens

I’m sharing my budget “tween” shared twin room makeover because tweens are a tricky demographic. They want to be grown up, but they don’t bring in their own income! They want all their toys, but they also want their room to look sophisticated.

Always on a Budget

In case I haven’t made it clear, EVERYTHING we do is on a budget. As a one income family (let’s face it, I’m not exactly raking in the dough as a blogger) money is always tight and our poor old house is ALWAYS in need of something. Just when you think you have a little extra cash to work with, the van needs repairs….but let’s not get bogged down with reality.

Colors for Twins

A decade ago we found out we were having twins. At that moment, the doctor could not tell us the genders of the babies. We weren’t sure if we would find out in time, so we had to go ahead and paint the room for them. I chose a “guacamole green” thinking it would work for boys, girls, or one of each.  Once we found out they were both girls, we put up sweet little animal wall decals, butterfly growth charts and a sign that read: “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”.

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My sweet girls have shared the same room with the same cutesy baby decor up ever since and they were really hoping for a change. Actually, they were hoping not to have to share a room but again….reality. So with much discussion and debate, they chose a color. With a funny twist, it is very similar to the color I chose for my first “tweenage” room two decades ago. Appropriately, their new color is called”Sassy Lilac” from Valspar.

Sassy Lilac

Working on “Staycation”

My husband painted this week (on his vacation from work….what a loving Daddy!) and it is just as purple as they dreamed! When I asked them what they hoped for from a new room one of the big wishes was: more space. It’s an understandable request, they are homeschooled identical twin girls sharing a very small space and they spend a lot of time together.

American Girl has taken over our home

So we tried to clear out the area as much as possible, eliminating clutter and editing down the American Girl world that had become much larger than life. Seriously, this was their 18″ doll dollhouse before:

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The KidKraft 18″ Elegant Doll Manor is on Amazon if you want to take a look. They really do love it.

Notice how what used to be two bookcases became an addition to the 18″ doll home? I’m telling you, those dolls have much more space than our family. Also, here you can see the “guacamole” paint and understand perhaps why they wanted to go for something a little brighter.

A more Grown-up Design

Next we wanted to find a cool piece of art to tie the room together. Exploring Homegoods, we found this black, white & gold print with “Do everything with love” on it.  The girls and I decided then and there that the accent colors for the room would be white, black and gold against the backdrop of purple walls. (And it was only $18 on clearance).

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We are pretty happy with the direction the room is going in. I will post more updates as we go.

Check out more posts in this series!

This long, crazy week & “blog thoughts”

It’s been a long, crazy week, and it’s only Wednesday! The only reason I am not sipping a glass of wine right this second is that I am patiently leaving it in the freezer for just a little longer. I’m honestly thinking about pouring it over ice at this point.

I guess this week hasn’t been that bad. We’ve certainly had worse.

Like the Flu of 2013. Or that time my husband and I decided to re-wallpaper our bathroom in the heat of summer. Or the time I had to have a whole lot of expensive medical tests done just to figure out I still have the same diagnosis as before. Or the time that the check engine light came on in both cars the same weekend. 

A New Personal High

Monday Morning I reached a new personal high. On the scale. The frustrating thing is, I haven’t even been eating more, it’s just that the Prozac for my anxiety makes me gain weight. So not only do none of my shorts from last year fit, but as you can imagine being at my highest non-pregnant weight ever doesn’t help my anxiety either!

Then I tried to get the girls to work on math. As I’ve mentioned before, they don’t love math. Even though I had warned them that we would have some homework over the summer they melted down about it. From their extreme reactions you would think I asked them to copy down the entire Encyclopedia from A-Z. As homeschoolers they already skip a whole lot of busy work, so I when they act like this about some worksheets, it makes me a little crazy!

Being crazy makes me need Prozac. Taking Prozac makes me fat. Being fat makes me crazy. See the problem?

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My Biggest Fear

After the “new high”, Monday night I got all ambitious and decided I would conquer one of my greatest fears: going to the gym. I had just become incredibly intimidated by the thought of it, and had not set foot in the workout room in five years. But I was all worked up that night so I did the Elliptical machine for over an hour. I was so very proud of myself until about 11 PM. By the time I got to bed, I could barely move. 

For some reason, I thought exercising itself was the hard part, but I forgot that being incredibly out of shape makes for seriously sore muscles.

I barely slept until getting up at 3 AM for a bowl of cereal (no doubt more calories than I burned on the elliptical) and some ibuprophen. Not exactly a win.

Fun at the Pediatrician

Today I had to take all three children to the pediatrician; my older two are totally paranoid of doctors, my four year old had to get shots, I got scolded by the doctor for ignoring the standard vaccine schedule and the entire visit took two hours. The one redeeming moment was when the nurse, who has to be at least 65, carried on a very informed conversation with my son about transformers that totally distracted him from the shots. (Seriously, she knew the name of Optimus Prime!)

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent a little about my crazy chaotic week. I do have one little successful moment to share. I’m a contributor to a couple blogs as you know. Well, one of my posts from Bargain Babe went viral on Pinterest this week, getting re-pinned over 6500 times! I’m really excited and I admit there have been a couple times I’ve sat entranced while refreshing the page and watching the re-pins continue to rise. (Ok, yes that confession makes me a geek. ) Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to come back to earth when I remember I still only have two followers on my blog and I think they may both be….my parents. I hope your week is going better than mine! Please check back Friday for my Friday Favorites post!

Dear Target (Part 2),

About that Boycott (2 months later) or Dear Target Part 2

It’s been a couple months since I wrote about my concerns over Target’s announcement that their bathrooms were essentially gender free. With a lot of thought, and significant sadness, I decided to stop shopping at one of my favorite stores. Since then, I have read many responses to this issue and I want to be very clear about where I stood and where I stand now. I would like to say a few things about my stance:

I am not a bigot. Please take my post as it is written, in honesty and believe that I am NOT covering up bigotry with fabricated safety concerns. That is categorically untrue. I would like to re-iterate emphatically that my choice not to shop at Target was not because I have a problem with transgender individuals using the bathroom. IMG_2075Instead it is because I am firmly convinced that this public announcement from Target opens the door to predators having easier access to my daughters and America’s daughters. I do not think that this is a theoretical risk. I am confident that this is a definitive and undeniably dangerous situation that Target is placing the public in. There is evidence of this already being an issue:
*Man uses Women’s Locker Room 

*University of Toronto reverses policy due to abuse

*Man undresses in front of children at Walmart

*Jason Pomares records hours of customers in store bathroom

*Man claims to be transgender to gain access to women at shelters

*Man dressed in wig and bra arrested in women’s room quoted as saying he took “a shower in the girls’ locker room for sexual gratification”.

I am not a half-hearted blogger. I saw a few posts that were making fun of the boycott and saying that if there was another launch of a popular brand (Lily Pulitzer, for example), boycotters would drop their “values” and race with their Redcard to the nearest Target. I can’t speak for any one else, but I did not take my decision lightly. This issue is of paramount importance to me and no discount, event or holiday would change my mind. I have not walked into a Target since my post from April. I have not shopped at Target.com. I have not spent the giftcard in my wallet. It’s fine if you disagree with me, but please don’t attack my character by suggesting I am not sincere. Believe me, if nothing else, I am incredibly stubborn.

Many Rape & Abuse Survivors feel re-victimized by this societal turn. A large segment of society is being ignored. For the most part, Target (and businesses that are following in their footsteps) are ignoring the needs of a LARGE demographic: Rape & Abuse survivors. (Statistics are hard to find for this group, but the consensus is that the numbers are high and vastly under-reported.)  These individuals have been ignored, silenced and often punished for reporting. Kaeley Triller says this much better than I ever could, please read her perspective.

I won’t be quoting the Bible in regard to this. I’m a firm and committed Christian, but I don’t expect Target (or any corporation) to follow Scripture. Target is not Christian and we can’t expect unbelievers to respond the way believers should. However, I would hope they would respond to their customer’s safety concerns as people of all beliefs should seek to protect the most vulnerable of society.

I understand that Bathroom policies are NOT the biggest issues at stake in our rapidly changing world. I have seen lots of people criticizing bloggers like me because there are bigger problems in the world, and that is absolutely true. I am not saying that this topic is more important than terrorism, starvation, child abuse, abortion, or other scores of social issues. I am speaking up about this issue, frankly, because I am a mother of young children, a shopaholic, and I have always been a loyal Target shopper. Also, coincidentally, my Target does NOT have a family bathroom. So everyone saying “just use the family bathroom” needs to realize that isn’t available in all stores.

Target’s response to their customers’ concerns has been inadequate. From the beginning, I never anticipated Target to reverse the policy. I had hoped that they would clarify it, speaking out against pedophilia and voyeurism. I had hoped they would respond with some clear safety steps to prevent what we fear. I had hoped they would express regret that they were alienating a large portion of their customers. I had hoped for sensitivity. Target’s corporate response can be found here.

At the end of the statement, the CEO compares this scenario to Target’s early use of black models in advertising in the 60’s, which was met with public backlash. I can’t even respond to this, because it’s clear that Target is completely ignoring what millions of customers are saying: “This is not about Transgenders. This is about the very real danger of predators, and a Corporation putting our children at risk.”

Target reiterates: “And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.” Clearly not, in this case. Target’s sales continue to go down but they seem to be blaming it on abnormal seasonal shopping trends, rather than acknowledging that many of us are boycotting.

So for me, I still won’t be shopping there. It will be interesting approaching back-to-school season and the upcoming holiday shopping season, when I typical hit multiple Targets dozens of times. (For those of you who are skipping Target in the future, be sure to follow my blog for all the non-Target deals I round up. ) My wallet will be in better shape from this lifestyle change. With all my spare time not shopping at Target, I’ve managed to do more cooking, a couple of DIY projects, and I even went to the gym and worked out for the first time in four years.

Dear Target, now that I’ve gotten some distance from our relationship, I realize it was never a very healthy one. You were just in it for my money, and you never really cared about me at all. I’ll miss you, but we’re apparently better off apart.

 

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to my daddy Alan who led me to Jesus as we sat together in an orange recliner over twenty-five years ago. No gift could ever be as precious as that, but he has loved me every day of my life and showed it through actions and words. And sometimes by making fun of me.  Despite the loss of his own father as a young child he has been the ultimate example of a supportive and committed parent to his four children. He also loves his four grandchildren with the blinding light of a thousand suns.

Happy Father’s Day to the strong and godly men that have been a light in my life: Mr. Gerald who gave me a deeper understanding of God’s character than I ever had before and has always encouraged me. Mark, my father-in-law, who has shown me kindness since Day One and takes advantage of time with his grandchildren to really get to know them.

Happy Father’s Day to the amazing man who is father to my children: Craig Prescott I love you and praise God for your love for your family!
And here is the kids’ poem to their Daddy:

On this very special day

We have a lot to say

We’re thankful for you

And all that you do

You go to work before the sun

We know your office ain’t that fun

Some days you’re the only one

To stay till all the work is done

At home you press on without rest

Helping us to do our best

Mowing, cleaning, cooking too

Sometimes it seems that’s all you do

Clayton loves the star wars play

You do it almost every day!

You often win at Monopoly deal

But you still care about how we feel

You read to us and make us laugh

You give the dog a bubble bath

You teach us lots and lots of facts

You pay the bills and all the tax

Daddy, we love you and we pray

You have a Happy Father’s Day

Love,

Your family

Liebster Award Winner

Liebster Award:

If you haven’t heard of the Liebster Award, it’s pretty much a way that bloggers help connect their readers with other great blogs. It is really more of an online blogging chain letter than anything else, but I’m excited to participate, and look forward to following the chain that continues from my nominees!

liebsteraward2

Thank you so much EatMyScience for passing the nomination to me! (and my apologies for taking so long to respond; I admit I was a little overwhelmed)! I appreciate you taking the time to give me a shout-out! I am blogging my little heart out and really appreciate when anyone notices my efforts. Jadie, I am so amazed that your blog is so new, it is really beautifully done. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

Here are my answers to your  questions:

Questions:

  • What was the moment of inspiration that motivated you to start your blog?

I guess it was a long time coming. I had blogged casually and sporadically but my mother always told me I should write professionally. Then a few of my friends really encouraged me to work on my own brand rather than just contributing to other blogs. Finally I reached the tipping point of motivation and confidence and took the leap.

  • What is your favorite post that you have written so far? Give us a link!

This is one of my favorite posts because it really takes me back to the chaos and craziness that was the first few years of parenting twins. It also reminds me of how much better things are now and that my current challenges will one day be funny memories (hopefully).

  • List a few of your favorite blogs.

www.franishtheblog.com/
http://sheaffertoldmeto.com/
www.unfancy.com

  • What is your favorite thing about writing/blogging?

I love how writing clears my head and it just feels like what I am supposed to be doing. Also, I love knowing other folks are reading my thoughts! That’s a good feeling.

  • What goals do you have for your blog in the next year?

So many goals! I would like to figure out more about design and improve the flow of my blog. I really, really want to work on my photography and photo editing skills. I need to figure out my niche a little better.

  • If you could start another blog, what would the topic be?

Maybe a blog exclusively about twin stories and twin parenting tips! My problem is that my memory is so foggy about that exhausting time that I may not be able to remember any of my own tips!

  • What advice would you give other new bloggers?

I am not sure I should be giving advice yet, but one of the most important tips I have is to proofread your blog! Spelling mistakes can ruin a good post!

  • What are your hobbies other than blogging?

Do you count being woken up ridiculously early by the same kid every day and drinking way too much coffee to make it to sunrise? I also love crafts when I have the time and shopping whether I have time or not.

  • What is your favorite food?

Coffee is my favorite thing to consume, but if I have to pick food I would probably say cheesecake. With a cup of coffee.

  • And finally, what is one random thing about your life that you think your readers would like to know?

I have GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). Rather than saying I have Anxiety, I like to call myself a worse-case-scenario enthusiast. If you would like me to provide you with a worse case scenario for any given situation, just email me. It’s a natural gift.

I am always early. I feel like folks may think this is because I am super uptight (and hey, I kind of am, see above). But I really just hate being stressed, and running late makes me stressed. I have found that I can avoid stress by always leaving early so that’s what I do. Since I leave early, I always arrive early.

I am not athletic at all. But I was a green belt in karate and I did once break a concrete block with my hand. I don’t really care about goals or baskets or points or teams, but kicking a guy in the crotch is very liberating.

Sorry. I see that I gave you three facts instead of ten. Over-sharer.

 

Nominees:

Finally, I get to pick my own Nominees. Here they are!

1. Caroline Ganahl

2. Grace Enough

3. Creed of Man

4. Refurbish360

Now, here’s what ya’ll have to do. That is, if you want to. I totally understand if you aren’t up for spending a couple hours of time on this post!

  1. Thank the blog that nominated you on a post and in your blog.
  2. Answer the questions asked by the blog that nominated you.
  3. Nominate 4-11 other new bloggers.
  4. Create 10 new questions for the nominees to answer.
  5. Notify all nominees via social media.

Here are the Official Rules of the Liebster Award, along with lots of graphics. 

My questions for my nominees are:

If you could pick one person in the world to read your blog, who would it be?

What is your favorite book of all time?

What’s your favorite post of all you have written (have to copy this one from Jadie!)?

What is the hardest thing about blogging?

What’s a topic you’ve wanted to blog about, but haven’t yet?

I guess that’s it! Thanks again for reading, thank you Jadie for nominating me, and thank you nominees for letting me pick you even if I didn’t ask ahead of time.

praise of his glorious grace

 

Ephesians 1

 

It’s all about the Praise of His Glorious Grace! Read more from Ephesians 1


praise of his glorious graceEphesians 1

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus,[a] the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purposeof his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer 

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

 

Ephesians 1 is what I am reflecting on for the month of June. I will never forget one of my dearest friends and teachers explaining how Ephesians 1 answers so many questions we may have as Christians. It’s important to understand that God’s ultimate goal is to glorify Himself….and if we can’t understand that or accept it we aren’t even beginning to grasp His Holiness. Last week our church had a message based on the passage and it has been on my heart all week.

Why am I here?  I exist to praise “His glorious grace” and point others towards that grace. When I forget that, I become dissatisfied and bitter. When I forget that, I find myself lost and afraid. When I forget that, I expect from others what I should be accepting from God’s open hand. When I re-align myself with Ephesians 1, I find clarity and peace.

Just for Women: Part 2

I mentioned in Part 1 that I have become a loyal convert to reusable feminine care solutions. I am so much happier dealing with “that time of the month” since I switched from disposable products. My first menstrual cup was the Diva Cup and it was revolutionary for me. However, recently I have been searching for something that would work a little better for me, and I am excited to share about it now!

FemmyCycle was kind enough to send me a free reusable cup to test and honestly review. I did not receive any compensation for this review, nor did I commit to writing anything other than my honest opinion about the product. Luckily, my honest review turns out to be very positive!

Here’s why I was really excited to try the Femmy Cycle. It has the largest capacity of any cup I could find. Also, it comes in three different sizes which includes a low cervix version. Finally, it has a unique leak proof design that no other cup offers. A few other things that make it different from the others: it’s softer, cleaning instructions do not suggest boiling, and it’s suggested lifespan is only two years.

Down to the details:

Is it comfortable? YES. I found it more comfortable by far than others I have used.

Is it easy to use? After practice, sure. Like most products in this category, it does have a learning curve.

Is it effective? For me, VERY. Performance was better for me than anything else I have used. Keep in mind that every woman is different, so results may vary.

Does the spill-proof feature work? To my amazement, YES.

I really like the FemmyCycle and will continue using it. I do think that the design makes it a little trickier to learn for a first-timer, but I think it’s a great option for those who have trouble with other cups or just need better protection. I’m not sure why it would need to be replaced every two years, when other cups’ suggested life span are closer to a decade. It’s slightly pricey compared to other versions on the market, but most of us can overlook the cost which is minimal over the life of the product. Women should be aware of all their options, and FemmyCycle is a great one!

FemmyCycle was kind enough to send me a free reusable cup to test and honestly review. I did not receive any compensation for this review, nor did I commit to writing anything other than my honest opinion about the product. Luckily, my honest review turns out to be very positive!